Why I’m saying ‘Hello’ to winter weight & ‘goodbye’ to caring! My mindful approach to feeling happier this winter.

Toasted Marshmallow milkshake cheers! & I enjoyed every last sip.

I don’t know about you but I’m experiencing major care fatigue. I feel like a wimp, and I have been hard on myself for not doing enough. I knew I needed to try something new because I am feeling numb & depleted. So I decided once the season changed to fall…to take the season off from caring.

Thats right, the whole autumn I will choose one thing that causes me much stress, grief, and self-loathing that I “cared too much” about and do something I would never in a million years do…consciously choose to not give a f*ck about it. Just gloriously relish in the freedom of completely letting all of that guilt and shame go.

You know what I’m giving up caring about??? Hating myself for holiday weight gain.

I woke up in September and decided I am going to blog about how I am mindfully going to gain weight this season and consciously free myself from any guilt, shame, self-hatred for doing so.  I officially have declared it will be an awesome decent into chub-ville!

Ever since I moved back to place with 4 seasons (man I miss Hawaii, and San Diego) I have been feeling the seasons really intensely.  In summer I’m on fire, peppy and hardcore on my workouts, then the chill in the air that signals Halloween in coming sends me into a downward spiral filled with bite sized snickers, fatigue, pale skin, and puffiness…all over.  I feel like a caterpillar in winter I just want to eat, eat, eat, sleep and dream of waking up beautiful in Spring. Yet, alas I only wake up with a sugar addiction, tight clothes, rough skin, and feeling terrible about myself.

Some famous thoughts I have when this happens is:

What is wrong with you?

You know better!

You are out of control.

How could you let this happen?

You are gross.

Get your shit together!!!

Sound familiar to anyone?  I know I’m not alone.

But this season I am DONE.  I don’t know if it’s the political climate these days, it’s been a helluva year, or the lack of nurturing friendships close by….I don’t know but I really feel so done. I need this sabbatical from caring for my survival.  In order for me to still care, have compassion, be empathetic I must unplug from it for a spell to re-fill my well.

I’m going to call it radical self-care.  Self care isn’t always getting your hair & nails did, and taking a luxurious bubble bath. Sometimes it’s about going to bed at 8pm, letting go of a toxic person, and forgiving yourself for not meeting your own impossible standards.

My thoughts were, hey, if holiday weight gain happens anyway why not conciously do it, and luxuriate in the experience of how it all happens, AND love myself throughout the process. I know…wild right? How could I make something that is deemed so ugly in our society as gaining weight a kind of spiritual experience???  It has been said that addiction is only looking for God in all the wrong places. Can God be in that Halloween bucket that my daughter brought home???? Well I ate the whole thing and I still couldn’t tell you, but it is the Sufi way to believe God is everywhere, so here we go…let’s see.

One problem, how was I going to do this without it just being about gorging on food aka binging?  So I created some ground rules.

  1. I will only over indulge for a season…which ends Dec 21 on the solstice, first day of winter.

2. I only will indulge in what I am truly craving, that means finally saying yes to that Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake I see on the menu but would never let myself have.

3. While I’m eating it I will fully experience it by giving it my full undivided attention.

4. I will express my gratitude for the experience.

4.  I decided that I was still going to work out 3x a week while conducting this experiment.

Why this is huge for me: I only shop at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. I only cook grass-fed farm raised meats, no nitrates, no msg, no gmo, no preservatives, no coloring, wild caught seafood, I take probiotic, drink kombucha, use bone broth, only buy free range farm eggs & all organic produce and goodies.   I do not eat or buy bread or pasta, do not drink cow’s milk and stay away from cheese.  I have seen “Forks Over Knives”, “Super Size Me” and “What the Health”.  So let me just tell you what I have found out about myself since it has been over a month of eating whatever I wanted without cringing when I think of the place from which it came.

I have most definitely gained weight.  I have enjoyed almost everything I have eaten.  Yes…I have eaten and loved McDonald’s fries, Taco Bell, and Fried Chicken all in the same week. I wouldn’t even eat that much in a year before! I have eaten late at night, on the couch, as much gross sugary American chocolate from Sol’s Halloween bucket as I wanted with NO guilt. Hello Pumpkin pie for no reason, and a block of manchego cheese with bread…dream come true! For the first time ever I have felt my pants get tighter and said to my belly “hello there!” in anticipation not despair. I have looked at myself in the mirror and felt the pangs of disapproval and slight disgust, and instead tried my best to replace it with… ‘your ok kid’.

This has been horrifying, terrifying to do on some level but there is an unfamiliar freedom there I can’t explain. There is a seed of peace that I am discovering, uncovering, and reclaiming.  God is it you? Are you there in my muffin top? Can it be!?

Let me tell you what else I have noticed….I am SO sluggish.

I’m pretty much tired all day.  I get headaches regularly, and for the first time in years…I got a cold last week.

I am drinking more coffee, and I feel foggy brained.  I was keeping up with my intense workouts until about 2 weeks ago where I couldn’t focus in my happy place (barre class)…so I cut back and increased my gentle yoga (which I usually scoff at because you don’t sweat in there). I just want to lay around.  My skin does not feel as smooth,  and when I wake up in the morning my face is puffy.

I am excited for Thanksgiving this year, as I’m going to my Titi’s house and it will be gmo corn oil, msg Adobo, Sazon, and inhumanely raised pork fat frenzy! I will practice allowing myself to eat Thanksgiving (for the first time I can remember) not “counting points”,  being really careful about my portions, adding up calories in “My Fitness Pal”, or just feeling bad about my body afterwards, and giving myself a lecture to get my shit together in December.

I am mid way through my not giving a f*ck and this too shall pass…I will return to my normal giving a f*ck and it won’t be easy I’m sure, nothing healthy ever is.  But as I reflect on this past month I realize that I desperately needed this breathing room to just be…I realized that the feeling I dreaded that I had been avoiding most of my life, the feeling I never wanted to feel…I had to give it it’s time to take over, not build a bigger wall against it. I needed to allow it to wash up over me and knock me down.  I wanted to give weight gain it’s due, it’s time and place, and finally a green light to say  “it’s ok.  You are not forever.  I hate what you stand for and the power I let you have over me but you are here, you come every year, so how can I love you”?  Weight gain…you are the worst, and you are a product of my living my best life through the holidays, so how can I friggin’ love you!?  How?

Then I realized something….it wasn’t about the weight gain…you can substitute weight gain for anything you struggle with loving that is undeniably in your life….for me it’s family members whom have different values, morals and beliefs as me…how to love when love is the only answer?  Ungracefully of course.  With awareness of  how you feel about what they both stand for, the vileness, the masked hatred, and then reach for that piece of pumpkin pie and love them….imperfectly.

I have nothing else to say except…I’ll blog again disclosing the exact amount of weight I gained around Solstice, the darkest night of the year, the welcome of winter and the end of this season of “uncaring”.  Until then I’m going underground to lay around some more, eat this Danish Kringle if I feel like it, with my headaches, my ‘bienvenido’ to the lesson that is be learned, & this ponch.

Let me know if you wind up joining me on this un-fantastic journey into weight gain, I’d love to hear what insights you take away from it.

**Side note**-Do you know that the stewardess at the airport asked me if I was pregnant?! The nerve! I did want that upgrade though so I asked her did it matter…it didn’t & I’m not…FYI.

How To: Make Real Friends as an Adult. Hey, I’m not saying it’s easy…I’m just saying it’s possible.

 

My friend Angela & I met in our 20’s. Initially we bonded over clothes & Don Miguel Ruiz. We really thought we had it all figured out…dummies! Lol. Still friends & know better.

“Friends-how many of us have them?”- Whoodini

I see my daughter walk up to kids on the playground and ask “do you want to play?”,  ”What’s your name?” Sometimes she doesn’t say anything at all & just plays side-by-side in some parallel kid universe with a new “friend”.  I wish it were more like that for grown folks.  Why is making legit friends as an adult so tricky. Or is it?

I was asked recently “how did you meet the last adult friend you’ve made?” So it sparked my thoughts about why we seek new friends as an adult & how we go about it.  It’s not like making friends in your 20’s or anytime pre-marriage, pre-kids, pre-career. It was more ‘unconscious’ then.  In those days all you needed was to hit happy hour after work, meet friends through friends, share drinks over long discussions about movies, music, books, & share dating disaster stories. Those were the simple days of brunching, lunching, shopping, lounging, impropmptu trips, going out together, saying ‘we should go out next week’…& meaning it.

There are many reasons to seek new friends as an adult.

Maybe you may have lots of old near & dears but your newfound love of running marathons may get you the dreaded huff & eye roll when you ask them to maybe join you sometime. You may find yourself cleansing some toxic old friendships & seeking some healthier kinds, or maybe you are just feeling lonely, new in town, & seeking connection.

Here is the KEY: If you are finding yourself in a position where you are desiring more companionship, friends, friendly aquaintances etc. you will find your peeps where your deep interests, deep dislikes, or deep heartaches lie.

Let me break it down.

Share Deep Interests-

As a military spouse just having that in common is not enough for me when I am new in town. Also, just because our kids go to the same school is not enough either.  There’s not enough ‘glue’ there if we don’t both really care/can’t stand/or heartache over something else.

What I’ve noticed in my years of moving around & dipping my pinky toe out there to feel people out is this…you have to have something you feel very strongly about in common. A shared agenda if you will. As an adult you go through different phases of your life so it changes. The shift to friendship is becomes more conscious & has a slight sense of effort to it.

Here are 3 major things to bond over when seeking out the coveted “friendship material” in someone.

1. Something you really LIKE: adrenaline junkies, biking, beaches, wine, politics, art, music, dance, immigration, equal rights, positive parenting, holistic remedies, dogs, movies, fresh snow, triathlons ….go geek out, rant, rave, have shared fun with someone over what you both like.

2. Something you CANNOT STAND: Injustice, racism, loud parties, banned books, your boss…whatever makes your blood boil or annoys you.  You likely can find a friend over that too.

And not to be overlooked (but less popular for obvious reasons) is…

3. Something your heart ACHES about: AKA something that depresses you. Coming out of the dark with someone is powerful in creating a lasting bond. Some examples of this are other fellow post partum parents, recovery, grieving loss etc. When your heart aches along side another person it’s actually all good stuff that brings you closer.

After you find what strong feeling you have in common…

Create a Bridge-

Just simply existing side by side with someone who shares a deep interest with you is not enough. This is where many people drop the ball. You then have to create a bridge. Bring them into your world somehow. Invite them over, take them up on their invite. Text them. Meet up somewhere, (gasp) solidify a set date & put it in your phone. Do it over & over again.

The hardest to give: Time

You must invest time. This is what there is not a lot of in adulthood. People have families, kids, responsibilities and not a lot of time. Especially not to do something as silly as ‘make friends’. Especially when your car needs to get serviced,  you have to go grocery shopping, your behind on making dentist appointments for the whole family, planning the upcoming birthday gathering, and that work report is due.  Time must be respected… & valued…& used wisely.   When you invest a little bit of time & you feel as if it is being invested equally by the other person. BINGO!! You hit the friendship structure jackpot. This is the stuff a great friendship is built on. There is potential & the makings of a lasting symbiotic friendship. It will fluctuate, sometimes you will do a bit more, and the other person will do a bit less & plans will be broken, rescheduled, & put off but if for the most part it equals out…your in the green. Keep moving forward with this friend.

Trust: the experiment 

Then from there things blossom organically where you play the scariest game ever, the game of  ‘can I trust you?’ Trust is the other crucial element in friendship. This takes some time. Do small social experiments & notice the outcomes.  It may start gradual like, can I trust you to keep plans, can I trust you to show up on time, return a text. Then it may move to can I trust you enough with my family, to reveal something embarrassing or unsavory, a hearts desire, to treat me with respect, to really show up for me when I need you.

Progress not Perfection

It may or may not ever get there, but finding your tribe starts with 1.

Like any relationship. Allow for mistakes. You are both learning each other, figuring out hot buttons, and quirks. Practice forgiveness. Use the three strikes & your out rule. Don’t be a doormat.

So how did I find my latest friend… Like great friend…Like soul connected friend? We met in a mommy & me class, both feeling super out of place we shared an affinity for not following the rules, a shared curiousity in the world around us, never ending desire for coffee, play, and found comfort during some dark tough transitions of motherhood. It was friendship magic, rare, & true. 5 years later, still dancing, laughing, & crying together.

My newest adult friend Shela. New motherhood, belly laughs, our love of dance, & our daughters brought us together.
And over things as simple as that a soul sister can be born. Friends I’m not saying it’s easy…I’m just saying it’s possible.

 “How did I get out of your belly?” asked my 4 yr old. My answer was to keep it real…(but not too real).

This is my post Mother’s Day ode to awkward questions. Enjoy!

I have a few friends that believe that there is this time in a child’s life where the spiritual veil is very thin & they can recall where they were before they were in your body.  Like heaven, or a past life, you know stuff like that.

It’s something like before a child becomes 3 yrs old, you can ask them “where were you before mommy’s belly?” & they will give you insight to the “other side”. I dig that kind of stuff so before Sol’s third birthday I asked Sol…she said she was “swimming around…with whales”.

Hmmm, kinda sceptical but it could be possible, right?  So maybe I birthed a baby that was a scuba diver in a past life, or…a whale.  Anyway, fast forward she is now 4 & 1/2 we are all sitting around the table having dinner & she was talking about my belly, as it sometimes comes up, asking questions like: “Why is it so big?” (Too many carbs),  “Why is it so squishy?” (Again, too many carbs) & she goes on to share how she used to be in there but wanted to come out. The story usually stops there.

Then she looked at me & asked…”how did I get out?”. Jemar gave me the nervous side eye.  I’m not sure he totally loves my radically honest parenting approach & would much rather I tell of a stork that magically flew the air & delivered right to our doorstep but whatever…I said, “I pushed you out.”

I was hoping to leave it at that, so I simply  continued sucking the bone of my lamb chop.

But she really looked kind of disturbed & said “like how?”

Hmmm….what…to…say…now?

So I said, “like this” scrunched my face and grunted as I beared down, lamb chop in hand.

Confused she was.

So she asked, “like going doody?”

& I said “yup, exactly like going doody.” Which isn’t a lie…really.

I do have a confession though. She did ask how she got in there, & I lied a tiny bit…I told her the same confusing thing my mom used to tell me (and now I know why) “it was a miracle, God oversees all miracles”…but thats not a total lie either.

Oh dear, how is it that I’m turning into my mother?!

& double oh dear. What will Sol ask next?